Four-step End of Lockdown Roadmap announced

Four-step End of Lockdown Roadmap announced

Today, Monday 22nd February 2021, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced the government’s roadmap to ending lockdown.

He has announced that every adult in the UK will have been offered their first dose of the vaccination by 31st July, and free testing kits for workers will be extended until the end of June.

There will be at least five weeks between each step of the lifting of the current lockdown, which started on 5th January 2021.

 

Step 1 – 8th March

All schools and further education will be reopening on Monday 8th March, with twice-weekly testing of all students. Children’s activities including sports and after-school clubs will restart.

From this date, you may meet one person from another household in an outdoor setting.

Every care home resident may nominate 1 person to visit on a regular basis

29th March

The rule of six (or up to two households) will return for outdoor activities including in people’s personal gardens.

Outdoor sports facilities will be able to reopen.

 

Step 2 – No earlier than 12th April

Non-essential businesses can reopen, as well as personal care such as hair dressers and nail salons. Indoor gyms may reopen, as well as holiday lets but only when used by individuals or household groups.

Reopening of pubs and restaurants outdoors, with no curfew and no requirement for alcohol to be accompanied by ‘a substantial meal’.

Before proceeding to the next step, the government will examine the data to assess the impact of previous easements.

This assessment will be based on four tests which are that:

– The vaccine deployment programme continues successfully.

– Evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated.

– Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS.

– Our assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new Variants of Concern.

The four tests are currently being met so the first step will proceed from 8 March, at which point the top four priority cohorts for vaccinations – as determined by the independent JCVI – will have received a degree of immunity, three weeks after being offered their first dose.

Due to the current, relatively uniform spread of the virus across the country, restrictions will be eased step-by-step across the whole of England at the same time.

The roadmap seeks to balance between social and economic impacts, whilst preserving the health and safety of the country.

MPs will have an opportunity to vote on the regulations that will enable this roadmap in Parliament in the coming weeks.

Simon Beardsley, Chief Executive of Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “It is helpful that many businesses in Lincolnshire and across the country can now see a path to restart and recover. We will continue to call for absolute clarity and honesty every step of the way over the weeks ahead, so that businesses have a fighting chance to rebuild. The stop-start and drip-feed dynamic of the past year has been so damaging for our business community and we must see that come to an end.

“Even with the new roadmap, the future of thousands of firms and millions of jobs still hangs by a thread as many hard-hit businesses simply don’t have the cash reserves needed to hold out several more months before they are allowed to reopen.

“Businesses will hold the Prime Minister to his pledge to support organisations for the duration of the pandemic, as we start to see light at the end of the tunnel. Businesses have haemorrhaged billions of pounds over the past year and need action now.

“We will continue to lobby to see that all the key support schemes for business should be extended – through the summer and wherever possible throughout 2021 – to ensure that as many viable organisations as possible can make it to the end of this pandemic and on the road to recovery.”

“It is helpful that many businesses in Lincolnshire and across the country can now see a path to restart and recover. We will continue to call for absolute clarity and honesty every step of the way."

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